The Dodge Journey is updated for 2014 with yet another special edition: this one called the Crossroad. It complements the Blacktop Journey with pricing from about $25,000 - which is a big jump from the advertised base pricing for the Journey that starts at $20,000.
This is the first Dodge, Ram or Chrysler review I have written since January 12th when the Ram Mossy Oak debuted in Detroit.
I would like to report good things - that this car was such a revelation that it made me cover Chrysler brands again. That is absolutely not the case with the $31,000 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad.
In fact, even visiting the Crossroad page on Dodge's site crashes my Firefox. It is not a coincidence - the Crossroad Dodge.com page crashed it thrice in a row. Try it!
For Firefox users, expect your browser to crash immediately after the page opens.
The only way I could even grab that link was to use Chrome briefly.
JOURNEY CROSSROAD ISSUES
As the V6-engine, AWD model, this Journey Crossroad is near the top of the range. This car, however, lacked the one USP that the Journey should offer buyers: a third row seat. It is an optional feature that was not included here.
Even with just a brief spin up the road, you can note a variety of serious failures in the Journey - which is a reheat of all the worst Chrysler and Dodge ideas of the last decade. The fact that this old heap is still being forced on buyers is regretful - even with all my favorite exterior tweaks like dark wheels, tinted lamps and sporty body pieces -- the Journey is clearly from the same pen that gave us the reviled Dodge Calibre.
All of the styling, even on this upgraded and range-topping Crossroad model, immediately recalls the block-based design that is best known from the first-gen Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager. The one from the 1980s.
Road Test Review - 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad
Here is a quick run-down of the issues identified on the test drive:
CABIN PROBLEMS - 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad
-- Driving position is compromised by poor seat range and lack of steering wheel adjustment. The best option is an upright and van-tastic pose with arms stretched out like a zombie.
-- Seats are new but still woeful - they feel just like the 1996 Town & Country seats
-- Seat base is far too short
-- Steering wheel is atrocious, and the overall interior layout is extremely upright like a minivan from all perspectives
-- Optional infotainment is the identikit 8.4-inch touchscreen, with kiddie-style graphics
-- Clunky gear-lever
-- Small second row access via oddly positioned door openings and high sills
-- Rear cargo area seems very small, and the fit/finish of the rear sunshade is extremely embarrassing
DRIVING PROBLEMS - 2014 Dodge Journey Crossroad
-- Smooth initial takeoff but spongy brakes and springy throttle
-- Steering is somewhat effortless but non-centering and lazy in its reactions, plus heavy to return to center after the corner is complete. Junk.
-- Body quivers and shimmies are evident even at low-speed maneuvers
-- Visibility is poor to all angles, particularly to the sides and rear -- but not good to the front either
-- Fuel economy is extremely uncompetitive versus crossovers and small SUVs due to the four-speed automatic in the four-banger and six-speed in the V6 Limited and R/T models.
-- Highway MPG tops out at 26 MPG - but observed MPG will struggle to crest 22 MPG
That list is pretty damning evidence for a car reporter, especially considering the car's price and ambitious options package upgrades.
It is regrettable that I am no longer a Chrysler champion, but this view is my own. It is subjective.
In the fall, I wrote glowing praise of the Ram EcoDiesel on another site. But I would challenge any car writer to praise the Journey whatsoever on its merits. It is a hunk of junk.
While writing this, I was thinking to myself: would this car be decent with a price of $21,000 versus $31,000? It would be better value, that is for sure, but it would not be an appealing design even if marked down to $5 total.
I struggle to fathom who would decide this was the best car on the market for their needs -- literally anything else would be a better decision. A Town & Country with heavy crash damage would be a better and more useful family machine. Certainly a better investment.
All this critical heat for the loaded model is bad, bad news for the front-drive base models that run a far older and less-advanced drivetrain. Overall, it proves without a doubt that this is a car to avoid.
I would Cross the Road not to drive the Crossroad again - and therefore will highly recommend anything else to family car shoppers.